Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Week 67--Finally Legal


I am currently writing this in love and appreciation for all da B-DAY shout outs I got. It was an absolutely stellar b-day. 

Here's how it started: the night before, I was really luke warm about the fact that my birthday was the next day. Partially because it is really weird having a day where it essentially like, "Oh hey let's celebrate the fact that I exist" when your whole entire life at the moment revolves around helping others. So that night we had dinner with a wonderful family, and the wife was like, "I am glad you could come, it's my husbands birthday." I was like OH GREAT. Mine's tomorrow! She had made cafe rio burritos and ice cream cake. THE BEST KIND OF CAKE. My compaion was very annoyed because the husband and I talked all night about how great people are that are born in September, especially around the 12-13 days. Plus they had left over lego's from when they went to the lego store and challenged each other to lego building contest, so they gave us them. That night, my companion and I had a lego building contest. I think I won.

The next morning I woke up and the first thing I did was open my Birthday Packages! (thanks fam). I loved the boomerang and am like half way done with the puppy puzzle. It's a big puzzle. That day three things happened that were particularly awesome. #1 We had back-to -back lessons with someone named "Cat" and "Kitty". Unrelated. Unfortunately Cat wasn't there.  I guess you could say someone let the Cat outta the bag. Ha. I'm sorry that was dumb. #2 The next awesome thing is we had a lesson on the top of seriously the most ghetto-looking building I've ever seen, and we were teaching this old Philipino man. Usually Philipinos are Catholic, and when they are, they are "born catholic, die catholic." But the first thing he asked us was about the different doctrines the Book Of Mormon presents and the Catholics teach. So we shared a little about that, then presented a powerful witness of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The man stopped, thought for a moment, and said, "Whenever someone comes by and talks to me like this (referring to religious people) I always wonder about how they tell us these things, yet there is so much pain and sorrow in the world." I could almost hug him when he said that! So we showed him 2 Nephi 2 where it talks about opposition in all things, then followed by having him read the fact that if there were no sorrow, there would be no pain, and finished with him reading about free agency. He seriously pondered the things contained in that section, and promptly declared, "Maybe this book will put to rest doubts I have had my whole life. This book contains wisdom unlike any other." It was a mighty spiritual moment. #3 We didnt have dinner that night, but when we brought a youth out to work with us, he was like, "Do you dinner tonight?" "No" "Hold on" Then he called his Mom and told him to feed us. Luckily, it was my favorite family in the ward, the Sudas! They are really, really awesome, and I couldn't have asked for a better family to eat with. They sang happy birthday to me, then covered my face with frosting. I loved it. 

The Lord really does watch out for us. I believe Heavenly Father really enjoys showering us with tender mercies. I think he loves seeing us happy! So be happy. Life's too short not to be. 

I love you all! Thank you for all your support. 
Elder Gleave

1) Sudas are great!
2) Couldn't be happier about the sunscreen

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week 66--The Book of Mormon

Hey family!

How are things? I guess I am gonna be an adult soon. That's kind of a scary thought. I remember meeting people who were 21 and thinking, "THOSE PEOPLE ARE OLD." Now I'M OLD. Goodness. I don't act like a 21 year old that's for sure. 

One thing I've really noticed is how much we really DON'T know. I use to think that a 21 year olds were so smart and knew so much, but I look at it and realize that I still have so much to learn! Even teenagers think they know so much about life, but really they are only scratching the surface. That's why it burdens me to see so many of today's youth making decisions that will affect them the rest of their lives. I recently had the opportunity to teach a 17 year-old boy who's been arrested 4 or 5 times on various different charges, and it's hard for me to see these so called "men" making decisions that will surely affect them the rest of their lives. I looked at this boy and just wanted to shake him and yell at him saying, "Don't you know what your'e doing to yourself? You're doing to your kids? You aren't just doing things that affect you now, they may affect you for the rest of life, even for eternity!" But he would probably look at me like I just got off a one-way ticket from crazyville. One of the hard things, about being a missionary is seeing these people make poor choices in their lives when you know deep down inside how much happier they could be. Then when you feel that, you start to develop this Christ-like love for them. Then it makes it even HARDER when they still make those choices. But the beautiful thing about the Gospel, especially the Atonement of Jesus Christ, is that there is happiness ingrained in all of us. Everyone is destined to be happy, because that of why we are here. And everyone is destined to be great. One of the blessings of being a child of God is the ability to change someone's life. Jesus Christ is all about change. Changing from someone you use to be, to someone God wants you to be. And the best way I know how to do that, is by reading the Book of Mormon. 

Like I said before, people don't know as much as we think we do. We are teaching this man who is named Kyle, and he's had a hard time accepting the Book of Mormon because growing up he had it hammered in his mind that, "the Mormons wrote their own book" and that the "Bible is the only thing that will ever be written." Now I don't believe these people were viciously trying to bring the Church down, but we had to explain to Kyle that more often than not, people struggle to believe in something that's new or foreign to them. That they automatically assume that what they have is enough, and there will never be anything more. But the amazing fact of the matter is that God DOES speak to us today, and he DOES love us the same as the time of the people in the Bible. He WILL give us all these things that are designed to help us, and the forefront of these things are the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Entailed in these sacred texts is the power to change lives. To unlock the potential we each have eternally written in our DNA. I am forever grateful for the impact these two things have have on my life, and it burdens my soul to see the increasing doubt this world has towards things pertaining to God. I reflect on the fact that I had literally no idea about any of this less than three years ago. But we can always get better. We can always start somewhere. We can always start now. God is good. 

I guess it's just been on my mind lately about how amazing God is and how many people don't even have an idea of that, but I thank Heavenly Father for the opportunity to be out here on my mission to share the incredible power that God brings. I got a lot of birthday emails this week (which I am so thankful for!!) and all of them asked how my mission was going, so if this email doesn't clear things up, I hope this does. My mission means everything to me. It's taught me to step back, to realize that I DON'T know everything, and to get ready to let God teach me. I love you all! I pray for you! 
Elder "Still a kid at heart" Gleave

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Week 65--Short one today

Hey family! 

Today has got to be a shorter email. We have an appointment soon because we had to email today since the library was closed yesterday for Labor Day. 

Well, here is a story for you. This week we were teaching a man and it has been going really well. His name is Kyle. We've been teaching him for awhile, and on this particular night his grandson was at his house. While we were teaching, the grandson comes out and pulls up a chair and then sits down and tell us he is going to listen in. Well, he listened for about two minutes, which I imagine is the equivalent to a few hours in eight year-old time, and, as any kid would do, decides it is his turn to talk. He goes on telling his grandpa, Kyle, about how his teacher is teaching him to walk on water, how his week was going, and just saying all sorts of ridiculousness. Then he starts telling his grandpa about how he got stung by a bee, and he asked, "Why do bees have stingers?" And me being a missionary thought that was a great time to teach him about God, so I said, "Because God made them that way." He scrunched his face, thought for a moment, then promptly declared, "God sucks." Hahaha it was so funny. Anyway, we explained how the bee could have been nervous and thought he was trying to hurt it and he stung you, but regardless the young boy taught me a very valuable lesson. Often times we will see or experience things that may lead us to question why such things are happening, I.E. a bee stinging you. And it's easy to simply blame God for what's happened. But in all actuality, things that happen to us, happen for a reason. Whether it is a natural cause and effect situation (because God is a God of order), whether it is the result of some other person's misdeeds, or whether it is by no ones fault at all, these things are here to teach us things. "It must needs be that there is opposition in all things" This is how we learn. It might teach us to not mess with bees, or it might teach us to have compassion on those who are going through similar situations, but I am ever more convinced that trials are there to better us, no matter what the trials are. 
I love you all, and hope you had a good Labor Day! 
Much love, 
Elder Gleave

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Week 64--Kings, raw fish and a miracle


Sometime I wish I could carry around a small camera and record everything I do so that I could go back and make a highlight film of all my favorite experiences. I would say that there was a few this week. ONE in particular that comes to the forefront of my dusty ole skull up there. 
It all started on Wednesday. We had planned to go to an appointment, but when that fell through, we made a quick stop by visit to a family that had just moved here from the island of Pohnpei (Pon-Pay). They are only here for a short time, while their toddler son gets an operation on his foot. When we went to teach them, their landlord, a 30 year-old woman sat in on the lesson. We asked her if she knew about the Church, and she said, "Yes. I was taught by missionaries in Pohnpei, and I went to Church with them once. I loved it! I was planning on coming to your Church this Sunday," so we were pretty excited about that, because that doesn't happen everyday. And so we taught her about the plan of salvation, she told us she wanted to be baptized, and then we set up a return appointment on Saturday. So that's where it gets weird. So on Saturday we went back, fully expecting to teach this family, when there are more Pohnpei people in this house! And so we sit down to teach the family and the young lady, and a man walks in and tell us we have to be quiet because there is a "higher up" that is staying there. Well, we come to find out that the second in line to be king of Pohnpei is staying there to get treatment at the local hospital. This added a little bit more tension in the room, because the last thing we wanted to do was offend a future king. But we finished the lesson and right as we were done, a rather confident-looking man walked in and said, "Come. Have some lunch with me." Then the same guy who told us that there was a higher up staying there came in and said, "You have been royally invited to lunch. You cannot refuse." So we sat down at the table and had lunch with the future king. It was interesting to talk to him. He was a warm-spirited guy, but you could tell he had an air of pride about him. I guess that happens when you are about to inherit a rather large island. He was a pastor of his own church of about 500, so that in itself added a bit of tension, but he was very respectful of the Mormon faith and told us about how beautiful the LDS chapels in Pohnpei were. It was rather intimidating, because any wrong move by one of us could reflect the LDS church, so if we ended up offending him in anyway, that could mean the end of missionary work in Pohnpei, an island of 34,000 people. A big custom in island culture is to not refuse any food given to you. So when I saw a large bowl of freshly sliced raw fish I thanked Heavenly Father I had learned to love that stuff on my mission and it was not a problem. (if you think that's gross, I would encourage you to look up Dinuguan. I had it that night for dinner). Overall, it was a very great lunch. We ended by providing a Book of Mormon to him. The last thing he said to us was, "If I end up reading this and getting converted, the whole island would go into a riot." Whether he gets converted or not, it speaks wonders to us members that stand as a witness of Christ "at all time, in all places." 

Well, that's the story of the week. I love you all! 
1) I think I left something behind
2) nightly planning session